Making room for everyone

CALUMET – Members of the Calumet Village Council got a glimpse of how the village could look in the near future during their regular meeting Tuesday.

Bill Baxandall, Michigan Technological University adjunct professor of civil and environmental engineering, brought seven members of a senior design class at Tech to talk about the Complete Streets plan for the village they recently created.

The students took turns talking about the plan, and Jon Gerke began the presentation by explaining that a Complete Streets plan includes all modes of transportation, including motorized and non-motorized uses.

“They incorporate all designs from the get-go,” he said. “Bicycle lanes and pedestrians are considered just as important as automobile traffic.”

Each Complete Streets plan is unique for the community for which it’s designed, Gerke said.

“They really fit the community which they serve,” he said.

Andrew Brucki said there are health and economic benefits to incorporating non-motorized transportation into a community, and a Complete Streets design can increase safety in a community.

“It’s not about the destination,” he said. “It’s about the journey.”

Brucki said the design the students developed keeps bicyclists and pedestrians separate from motorized travel. The various routes include points of interest, such as the Italian Hall Site and the Calumet Theatre, and places of everyday use, such as stores and offices.

Eric Daavettila said possible funding sources for implementation of the Complete Streets program include but aren’t limited to the Safe Routes to School program, a Community Development Block Grant, the village Downtown Development Authority, and a Bikes Belong Grant.

Other students presented possible construction plans for the proposed project.

After the presentation, village President Dave Geisler said he experienced a Complete Streets design in Chicago and it seemed to work well, and he thought the plan presented by the students could work in Calumet.

“As funds become available, I would love to see this come to fruition,” he said.

Also speaking to the council members was Laura Miller, executive director of the Calumet Theatre, who presented a list of 30 repair or construction projects the theatre board would like to complete as soon as possible. The theatre is owned by the village.

“The list is not in any particular order,” she said. “It’s just a list of things that we see that needs to be done.”

Miller said the list of repairs could be funded in part by money raised from its annual Grand Raffle.

“The Calumet Theatre Company has earmarked a portion of those funds for building improvement items,” she said.

Miller said the items on the list will be most obvious and provide comfort and safety to theatre patrons when they are completed. Estimates for some of the items on the list have already been received by the board.

Miller asked the council members to consider constructing an elevator in the theatre in the not-too-distant future, also.

“With that thought, we’d like to be able to promote that for our upcoming gala this year and for all of our future galas with the cause of raising money for an elevator for this building,” she said.

Council members approved allowing the theatre board members go ahead with the repair items and to agree in principal an elevator for the building should be constructed in the future.